June 19th, 2018

Liberals eliminate public input from school site selection process

HALIFAX – The NDP is concerned the Liberals’ new Education Act regulations have completely removed the public from the school site selection process for new schools. The revised regulations only say the Regional Executive Director is to recommend sites to the Minister, and do not require any public input beforehand.

“The true impact of the Liberal decision to eliminate school boards is starting to hit communities. Not only has the public lost the ability to elect education decision-makers, but now it’s clear they have also lost the right to participate in decisions about where schools will be located,” said NDP Education spokesperson Claudia Chender. “The Minister needs to be clear with the public and explain why parents and the public are being excluded from school decision-making.”

Under the previous Education Act, the superintendent had to strike a committee to suggest recommended sites. Those recommendations were then discussed at an open school board meeting, after which the board’s recommendations were sent to the Minister. At a recent community meeting on the Eastern Shore, Minister of Education Zach Churchill said he wouldn’t let the consultation process slow down site selection for a new school in the area.

“I believe in transparency throughout this process and feel that the community needs to be involved in the site selection process,” said Emma Kiley, a small business owner in Musquodoboit Harbour. “Eastern Shore District High School has been a social anchor of Musquodoboit Harbour since the 1960s."

The Liberal government eliminated all English language school boards under Bill 72, the Education Reform Act, this past spring.

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